Mixed fortunes for Worcs and Durham

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Mark Stoneman

Mark Stoneman's 75 put Durham on top against Worcestershire on a day where their hopes of securing a third title in four years evaporated

Worcestershire’s escape from relegation was confirmed today at the same time as their hosts, Durham, saw their dream of winning a third LV= County Championship title in four years evaporate.

The news came when Hampshire were making a belated attempt to achieve maximum batting points at the Rose Bowl but succeeded only in throwing away their ninth wicket through a run-out to give Warwickshire their third bowling point, ensuring Durham can not overtake them.

The hosts, though, will be confident of finishing with their eighth win tomorrow.

Worcestershire closed the third day on 65 for two, still 300 runs behind, after Graham Onions took two wickets despite his wayward start having allowed the visitors to race to 50 in the seventh over.

Skipper Daryl Mitchell had made 35 off only 24 balls when Onions skidded one through to bowl him before the former England seamer struck again to have first-innings centurion Vikram Solanki caught behind for a duck.

Dale Benkenstein’s 13th championship fifty of the season was among four half-centuries in Durham’s second-innings total of 388, in which Mark Stoneman top-scored with 75.

Alan Richardson had the same figures as in the first innings, 3-46, to finish with 73 wickets for the season, while Gareth Andrew reached 50 scalps when he pinned Benkenstein lbw for 63.

Having opened up with six maidens on the second evening, Richardson again commanded great respect in the morning and conceded only six runs off his first 12 overs.

Runs flowed off Kemar Roach, however, as Will Smith and Michael Di Venuto took their stand to 82.

Andrew then nipped one back to trap the former lbw for 37, though, leaving the batsman 22 runs short of 1,000 for the season.

Di Venuto departed for 55 when he bottom-edged an attempted pull off Richard Jones into his stumps.

Paul Collingwood then got off the mark with a six over midwicket off Moeen Ali, but, after making 24, a miscued pull off Roach saw him lob a catch to square-leg.

Stoneman’s attractive innings ended when he thrust his pad forward down the line of leg stump and was adjudged lbw to Moeen.

That was the only wicket to fall in the afternoon as Ian Blackwell joined Benkenstein in passing fifty. They put on 96 before departing in successive overs from Andrew.

Extra bounce accounted for Blackwell, who lobbed a catch to gully, before Andrew pierced Scott Borthwick’s defence with a swinging yorker.

Richardson did the rest as the last six wickets went down for 50 runs, 27 of which were thrashed by Mitchell Claydon.

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